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Recipe: Parsnip Fritters

28 May 2021
Parsnip Fritters #2

Try this delicious fritter recipe made with the humble parsnip for Sunday brunch. Words Kristina Jensen of Kiwi Gardener

We have a good friend out here in the Sounds who snorts if I mention that we are having parsnips for dinner. “Stock fodder,” he calls them. “Well,” I say to him, “I eat a lot of things that cows like to eat, like corn and swedes and sugar beet, so why not add parsnips to the list?”

My family will testify that I do really love parsnips almost to a fault. So much so, they are an integral part of almost every winter meal in our house. And why not when they add such a delicious creamy texture to thick soups, enhance the flavour of a roast and baked on their own in my mother’s little packages (see recipe), they just melt in your mouth.

The reason parsnips have this ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ quality is apparently due to a cold-season concentration of sugars in their flesh. The Romans cultivated parsnips for their sweet flavour and they were used as a sweetener along with sugar beet before the arrival of cane sugar in Europe. The cold makes them sweeter so parsnips are best left in the ground in winter and dug up when needed.

Unfortunately, I haven’t personally been able to try out any of these recipes with my own home-grown parsnips. I confess to being a hopeless parsnip grower, having grown a grand total of four tiny, but tasty, parsnips about seven years ago. Now, I’m happy to leave it to the fine growers in Southland to produce the best parsnips in New Zealand (in my opinion).

I’ve even tried the method of germinating parsnip seed where I’ve soaked the seeds overnight, carefully spread them out on a damp paper towel (with tweezers I might add) to wait for their little sprouts to show. Once the sprouts poked their little heads out, I transferred them one by one to a shallow furrow of well-composted soil (with the tweezers again) but only two grew up to be parsnips. So, back to the growers in Southland I go – thanks (whew)!

2 medium parsnips, peeled and grated
1 large potato, peeled and grated
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup flour
2 tsp celery salt or garlic salt
small handful of parsley, chopped finely
50g feta cheese
50g grated tasty cheese
oil for frying

In a large bowl, combine grated parsnips and potatoes with egg, flour, salt, parsley and cheese.
Let the mix stand for 15 minutes to let the liquid seep out of the vegetables.
Heat oil in a frying pan. Place tablespoons of the mixture in the pan and fry the fritters on each side until they are golden.
Flatten the fritters with the back of a spoon while they are cooking so that they cook evenly.
Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt.
Serve with dill mayonnaise or garlic aioli.

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